Mandarin and science rules

January 29, 2018

Little team: Jack Hamilton (Year 1), Toby Cheng (Year 1), Syakra Syamsuri (Year 2), Hannah Hamilton (Year 5), Syuhab Syamsuri (prep) and Tim Seal (principal) are looking forward to this year at Currawa Primary School.

Hidden among an abundance of tall, overhanging gums, you will find a quaint school filled with laughter and happiness.

Although Currawa Primary School only has 10 students, this family-orientated learning environment offers its pupils an opportunity like no other in the Goulburn Valley.

When principal Tim Seal arrived last year, he was excited to take on a new challenge and saw the value in teaching his students Mandarin.

After spending time in Malaysia and Singapore, Mr Seal realised the importance of the language on a global scale.

‘‘It’s so important (Mandarin) and beneficial to the children going forward,’’ Mr Seal said.

‘‘The language isn’t something we should be afraid of, it’s something we should embrace.’’

Two days a week the students receive a 90-minute lesson, one from Mr Seal and another via video conference from a teacher at Bendigo Senior Secondary College.

Introducing Mandarin at Currawa has been a great success, drawing families to the school specifically for the program.

Yusniza Yosoff said the program had helped her children preserve their Mandarin while learning English.

‘‘My children can continue to speak with me at home and because there are not too many kids at the school, they get more attention,’’ she said.

Ms Yosoff’s son Syuhab Syamsuri is the only prep student to join a cohort of nine others this year.

Mr Seal believed the small number of students enabled teachers to create specific programs.

‘‘You are able to get around to each student and teach to the individual,’’ he said.

Located behind The University of Melbourne’s Dookie College campus, Currawa PS is known as ‘‘The little school where science rules’’.

Students are often given the opportunity to be involved in research and do experiments at the campus.

‘‘Science underpins everything we do here,’’Mr Seal said.

After many years as a parent at the school, Pam Rogers said the science program helped the students to think.

‘‘The children begin to question and formulate,’’she said.

Mrs Rogers was extremely happy with her choice of Currawa Primary School.

‘‘The school invited us in straight away and all the kids get along really well,’’ she said.

‘‘We are more like a family.’’

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